AFTER a small hiccup against South Bendigo, Gisborne coach Tarryn Rymer says her team will be aiming to reinforce its reputation as a top-three outfit against competition benchmark Kangaroo Flat on Saturday.
The Bulldogs - minus Vixens training partner Jordan Cransberg and star goal attack Claudia Mawson - suffered only their fourth loss of the season last week, emerging on the wrong side of a thriller against the Bloods by a solitary goal.
It moved the Bloods (9-5-1), who play ninth-placed Strathfieldsaye (3-12) on Saturday, within six points of Gisborne (11-4) with three home and away matches to play.
Gisborne will round out its commitments against Golden Square (away) and Eaglehawk (home).
The Bulldogs coach is counting on a strong response against the Roos (14-1), who took care of Castlemaine by 19 goals last weekend, and have now won 10 straight games.
Rymer said the absence of Mawson last week had severely hurt.
"We just couldn't convert and without Claudia, we just don't have the depth in our A-reserve, and just couldn't get the ball in the ring," she said.
"They put a lot of pressure on and it ended up very low scoring.
"It was just one of those days, unfortunately - I had a bit of a feeling at the start of the day it was one of those games that could get away from us, especially without Claudia.
"We did miss Jordan, who is a super player, but we do have a bit more depth in our midcourt, whereas goalers are hard to replace.
"But credit to South Bendigo, it was a good win for them.
"It was a good learning experience for us and hopefully it fires us up for Saturday."
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK:
The Bulldogs have had the wood over the Roos in Gisborne in recent seasons, albeit their last match at Gardiner Reserve early last season ended in a draw.
"The girls are definitely looking forward to bouncing back - none of them like losing," Rymer said.
"We've looked at what went wrong and where we need to improve.
"It will be a tough hit-out. We know to beat Flat, everyone needs to do their role, you can't just shut down one or two players."
Roos coach Jayden Cowling is expecting the Bulldogs to be full of fight following last week's disappointment against South Bendigo.
"They will definitely come out firing," he said.
"Last time we played them we had a pretty good game, but going down to Gisborne, we haven't won there for many, many years.
"It's always a tough encounter down there; last time was a draw, hopefully this time the four points will be ours."
In other games, Maryborough (5-10) will look to test Sandhurst (14-1) at the QEO, Kyneton (5-9-1) hosts Eaglehawk (4-11) and Castlemaine (9-6) will be aiming to hit double figures in wins in its first season back in A-grade against Golden Square.
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